“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Jerry Seinfeld
Having always been one of the freakish minority who actually enjoy speaking in public, I have often wondered why people allow themselves to continue through life with this very real phobia, without doing something about it. I mean, we all have to do it at some point; may as well learn how to enjoy it, right?
Fear of frogs
I fear frogs. Truth be told, I have a major frog phobia. A few months ago I climbed up a slippery wooden pole and onto my deck, toting my laptop bag over one shoulder, to gain access to my front door, because there was a frog barring my way on the bottom step! It wasn’t even a big frog. I’m sure I could have stepped over it … IF I could have. At that moment, risking life and limb scaling the deck seemed like the easier option. I understand phobias. I get it. I’d like to get over my phobia of frogs … but not enough to look a frog in the eye and pick it up!
I have never, in my personal nor professional life to date been required to cosy up to any frogs in order to do my job, make my point, congratulate a friend, mourn a relative, accept an accolade, express my thanks, say a vow, issue instructions, teach a group, etc, etc, etc. Thankfully – very thankfully – I have a phobia that I can ignore and still remain perfectly functional; socially and professionally. Truth be told, I have encountered the terrifying amphibians on occasions when my need to scream and run would have been inappropriate … and I’ve somehow managed to breathe, control and suppress my instinctive “flight” response. Yes, I am a big girl when I have to be. I also get that phobias can be controlled and even conquered.
What if public speaking’s your “frog”?
Well – there’s good news and there’s bad news. Bad news first: at some point in every adult human’s life they’re going to be required to speak in front of a group. The reality of being in a roomful of people and being the only one standing up and facing the wrong way, with everyone waiting expectantly to hear what you have to say, is one of life’s eventualities. More bad news: most people fear it. Most people go out of their way to avoid it. Most people never do anything about getting the help to move past their fear and into a state of confidence and enjoyment about public speaking.
Now the good news …
It IS POSSIBLE to enjoy speaking in public – EVEN IF you hate it now; EVEN IF you suck at it now.
More good news …
I can help you get there. In fact, I’ve helped many people, over the past three decades, reach the point of being able to speak with confidence and charisma, and actually enjoy holding the attention of an audience as they communicate their message. (I just reread the “past three decades” bit and had to pause and do some calculating and yup – I am that old sob … which, for the purposes of this blog we shall call “experienced”!)
Coaching and courses
Through my one on one coaching and my TLC Training Public Speaking Courses, I help people discover the confidence they need to communicate their message publicly; in their own personal style. My training and experience as an actor, speaker, director, teacher and trainer have given me the tools and insights I need to help each individual reach their potential as a confident speaker and presenter.
I will be writing a series of articles and recording some video blogs describing some of the processes and exercises involved in conquering fears and “finding your voice”, as a supplement for those who attend my courses and a resource for those who are unable to. If you would like to subscribe to my mailing list to receive these articles and vlogs, please go to my Contact page and fill in the form.
I look forward to helping you. In the meantime, I will try to make my peace with frogs …